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Which Attributes Influence Player Development In Football Manager

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One question has plagued the FM community for over a decade, one question we hope to answer today…which attributes influence player development in Football Manager?

I have scoured every forum dating back to 2010, studied in depth experiments and questioned the experts. Contradictions, myths and a lack of clarity have made finding answers almost impossible, but I now have all the information to present.

If player development is your bag grab a cuppa and settle in…

Player Development In Football Manager – Attribute Weight

Every player has a current ability which can increase or decrease over time, this rating forms the profile you see in game. Potential ability dictates the maximum possible level (current ability) a player can reach, this is fixed. Both are a numerical rating from 0 to 200.


Higher potential ability = larger capacity to grow

However, many factors determine a player reaching their maximum potential; Training, playing time, age, personality, hidden attributes to name but a few. Todays focus is on which attributes influence player development in Football Manager.

We shall debate (and trust me it is a debate!) which attributes instigate growth in a second, but lets begin with a little lesson on attribute weight. MikaelinhoFM recently shared a cracking piece on the concepts of CA and PA. This included a visual presentation of each attributes contribution to current ability. Not every attribute is equal, ‘Acceleration’ for instance takes up more CA than ‘Balance’. Here is a snippet from MikaelinhoFM’s article:

Attribute Contribution To Current Ability

“Below I’ve created a visual presentation of the different attributes’ contribution to CA, with a 5 representing the attributes with the biggest contribution towards CA, while a 0 means that the attribute has no contribution whatsoever towards CA.

Even though you might struggle to read this table, you can at least see that the different attributes’ contribution towards CA are very varied, both compared to each other, but also depending on position. If we break it down into each position the following attributes raise CA the most, ie they come in the biggest CA boxes to your PA storage space:

DL/R: Decisions, Acceleration, Agility
DC: Marking, Decisions, Positioning
WBL/R: Acceleration, Pace, Stamina
DM: Tackling, Decisions, Acceleration and Agility
ML/R: Crossing, Acceleration, Agility and Pace
MC: First Touch, Passing, Decisions and Acceleration
AML/R: Acceleration, Pace and Stamina
AMC: First Touch, Technique, Acceleration and Pace
STC: Finishing, Acceleration plus a bunch of attributes in third place”

Why is this important? While not every attribute influences overall growth, every attribute could have a direct impact on its compatriot. Usain Bolt will naturally have a lower ceiling in technical ability because his exceptional speed demands more of his current ability. Likewise being proficient with both feet pays a handsome sum.

This explains attribute weight and mix very well, but what attributes actually influence player development in Football Manager?

Player Development In Football Manager – Past Experiments

My research began in the present and goes back as far as 2010. Lets begin with the latter, around the time of FM11 Shrewnaldo published an experiment on how determination affects player development in Football Manager, you can read about his findings here but the below graphic summarises.

In a nutshell, Shrewnaldo found evidence to suggest determination makes no discernible difference to player development. Shocked by the findings he proceeded to run the same experiment on professionalism. The conclusion? Professionalism has far more influence on player development as clearly shown below.

This spider graph clearly shows consistent growth across all attributes with the rise in professionalism. Note how sporadic the determination test seems in comparison.

Other reputable experiments had similar findings. One such test – analysed by Maestro Ugo on the Dugout – sampled over 200 years worth of data! Each experiment found the below attributes to have a significant affect, although to varying degrees, on player development in Football Manager.

  • Professionalism
  • Ambition
  • Injury Proneness

In conclusion; early experiments agreed Determination has no discernible effect on development, but disagreed on which of the three attributes above had the greatest impact.

However, further experiments post 2014 raised yet more doubt around Determination. Lets move forward to the present day and Sports Interactive’s take. Click onto page 2…

SIGames Stance

Fast forward a decade and things have changed. Two years ago an SI bod claimed Determination does impact player development and stimulate growth. However, when questioned he claimed this to always be the case which is clearly wrong going against all the data.

Onto 16th May 2020 and a tweet from Seb Wassell, SIGames Features Designer:

We replied to Seb’s tweet requesting clarity on Determination. I referenced the numerous experiments but we’re yet to recieve a reply, I am sure he has more pressing issues right now in fairness.

Determination must be coded to influence growth, Sports Interactive state as much, but does that actually happen? We all know other parts of the game – like the match engine – do not always perform in the creators vision. Until someone within the community can create an ironclad, undisputed experiment we may never know.


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Which attributes Influence Player Development In Football Manager?

Lets assume Determination has changed to influence player development; On this basis four attributes affect growth but not all are required in tandem:

Professionalism – The only guaranteed accelerator of development in Football Manager according to all sources, professional players work harder. I favour Professionalism over Ambition and Determination.

Ambition – Naturally ambitious players develop faster in the pursuit of their goals but also lack loyalty and could grow restless.

Determination – As above determination can aid development but I would always prioritise Professionalism. Determination is the only ‘visible’ attribute to influence player development in Football Manager.

Injury proneness – Very obvious, if you’re injured you can’t play and train to develop.

In summary; Favour Professionalism but Ambition and Determination aid growth also. Injury prone players will rely on luck as a lengthy setback will prove costly.


Now you know which attributes aid development, find the best player personalities for development by reading this guide


Ambition, Determination, Professionalism and Injury Proneness, the four pillars of player developement in Football Manager. But how can you tell which players are well endowed in each?

I am currently writing a personalities guide; Personality and media handling descriptions are key to understanding which players have the best mix of Ambition, Determination and Professionalism so be sure to check back.

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